The Cleanse Myth

I get asked all of the time about cleanses. I am always surprised, as I thought that we as a society were moving away from this idea. Don’t get me wrong, I have fallen prey to the shiny idea of a cleanse myself. It seems straight forward: drink a bunch of juiced vegetables, chug water, and get all of the “bad” stuff out of your body. Just suck it up for a few days and you will be fine.

3-day-juice-cleanse

My questions is: why not just suck it up for a few hours each week and prepare nourishing food? Like I said, I’m not judging – I’ve been there. I just have to take a step back and wonder what I was thinking. It is much more gentle on my body, and more beneficial, for me to eat healthy food, than to essentially send my body through an ineffective crash course that leaves me feeling hungry and mean.

Cleanses are unnecessary. Our body is designed to cleanse itself. Our liver is designed to process toxins out of our system. Further, drinking juiced fruits and vegetables is almost counterproductive. When you juice or pulverize produce, you are taking away the fiber that is naturally in produce, which helps it to properly digest in your body. This means your sugar levels will spike because the necessary fibers to digest the sugars have been removed. This causes your organs to go into OVERDRIVE, which is the opposite of what a cleanse promises.

enhanced-10620-1452541490-8Instead of wasting your money on cleansing pills, and expensive juices, try this instead: add extra vegetables to each meal. Whenever you have a meal or snack, add an extra helping of fibrous veggies. There are three reasons I like to do this:

  • You are giving your body the extra vitamins and minerals it needs in order to feel energized and “better”.
  • The vegetables will give you more bang for your buck. Meaning you can eat a lot of them and get a lot of nutrients, for a fairly small calorie price. Adding more to your plate helps crowd out the processed food that you may be tempted to have, but you will also fill up from the extra food in your belly.
  • Eating fibrous veggies and drinking enough water literally clears you out. This will get your digestive tract moving and get you feeling a little less full. I won’t say you will feel less bloated, because in all honesty, you may feel MORE bloated at first. It WILL pass though.

Do not confuse a cleanse with a detox here. A cleanse is essentially “cleaning out” your body from all of it’s toxins, which it does on its own. And the mentality of a cleanse tends to be to drink a bunch of pulverized or juiced produce in hopes of helping this along. In reality, you are spiking your blood sugar levels, improperly fueling your body, sending your hormones out of whack, and likely wreaking havoc on your metabolism. A detox, on the other hand, is when you eliminate something (i.e. sugar, alcohol, nicotine, etc) from your diet completely. You will likely go through withdrawals if you body is dependent on it. This is something your body cannot do on its own if you have been consuming it daily over time. Though this can be very difficult on the body, it is important for your body to not be dependant on such toxins. Nicotine, alcohol, and drug detox is obviously not within my professional scope, and you definitely want to be in the care of a doctor for those. Detoxing from sugar is no joke though. For that, you would want to take a good, hard look at what you are consuming, and work toward removing sugar from your diet for three weeks to a month, then only having in sporadically after that. This can be a VERY trying process, and there can be some tough withdrawal symptoms. I can put together a post on this at a later time if anyone is interested. Its important to note the difference between a cleanse and a detox. A detox can be necessary, but a cleanse is never necessary, and often times, counterproductive.

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